The Duke of WSOU 89.5 FM recently conducted an interview with bassist Sami Hinkka of Finnish folk metallers ENSIFERUM. You can listen to the full chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the whether the band's forthcoming "Two Paths" album has a concept:
Sami: "The way I see it, we could never do a stereotypical theme album, because we compose really slowly and you never know when the songs are ready. So, if we wanted to do a normal 'theme' album, we would need like ten years at least to be sure all the songs we need are ready. [Laughs] On this album, there is a song called 'I Will Never Kneel', which I think took almost seven years to finish and on the other hand, there's also a song called 'King Of Storms' which from the first idea until it was recorded, it was less than a year. 'Two Paths', there's a couple of songs that really fit into that theme. It's quite obvious, it's about decisions, decisions in life, the consequences, instantly and long-term and their consequences. It's like cause-and-effect. Also, not just a big decision, but the small, everyday decisions that we make. You might not think they will be a big thing, but they will change your life and the people around you. If you really want to scale it up, you can take human history and us as a species, the decisions that were made really might change the course of us and human-kind."
On how he feels about the "Viking metal" term:
Sami: [Laughs] "There's nothing wrong with that, but that has nothing to do with ENSIFERUM. Of course, Nordic mythology, they are one source of inspiration, this 'heroic' thing, generally, actually, all the heroic things, we have [some] western songs about. But, I have no problem if people refer to us as a Viking metal band. For a person who has no idea of our music, it might give some kind of clue, 'Okay, they come from a Nordic country and something, something, something.' But, I've always liked the heroic folk metal [term]. That sums it up really well."
On whether he pays attention to the American folk metal scene:
Sami: "I have to say, I'm really a crappy person to ask that. I really don't follow the scene that much. On the other hand, it's something I've been saying for years: folk metal needs that 'second wave'. I think it would be really refreshing for the whole scene in a big scale and also for all of metal. Some new bands would probably get some inspiration from us old geezers and add something new to it. It will be really interesting to see where the evolution of folk metal will go. I'm happy to hear there's a strong folk metal scene band-wise in North America."
On whether he thinks Paganfest, the multi-folk/epic metal band touring package, will ever come back to North America:
Sami: "I have no idea. We never organized any of those. I think it was [booking agency] Rock The Nation who started it and I really don't know what their status with this one is at the moment. Personally, when you're building a tour package, for us, the main point is that when people come to see the show, the package is so strong and interesting that people enjoy the whole evening, great music, from the first opening band until the echo of the last outro fades out, they'll have a great time. Let's see. It's nice if you have bands from different genres because then you can expose your music to a new audience. But, on the other hand, if the whole package is just folk, pagan, battle-Viking-whatever metal, the house will be full of people who is going to know all your songs and just go crazy. It's not a black and white thing. It's really hard to make a tour package."
"Two Paths" will be released on September 15 via Metal Blade Records.
From September 27 onward, ENSIFERUM will present "Two Paths" live on stage, splitting their European tour into two parts. The first part will be in September with six dates in three countries, and then in April 2018 there will be an extended tour through many more European countries. In between that time, ENSIFERUM will visit all other continents.